2 Timothy

2 Timothy 1:13 – 2:2 – Part of a Gospel Relay Team

  • Timothy 1v13 – 2v2.

 

Part of a Gospel Relay Team

 

Introduction.

ILLUS.: The image of the Olympic Flame being lit in Stadium Australia is very fresh in our minds having just had the Sydney 2000 Games. But for 4 weeks before Kathy Freeman, the Aboriginal Australian 400m Gold medallist took the touch and lit the flame in the Stadium, many runners had been carrying the touch from Olympia Valley in Greece.

En route some protestors tried to put it out / or snatch it away from the runner BUT the torch was preserved and guarded and passed on until the day it arrived in the Olympic Stadium to light the Olympic flame, which burned throughout the Games.

 

The Christian Church has been given something far more precious than the Olympic Flame! And while the gospel is given to all, there is a special responsibility placed on those that are gifted and called by God to lead and teach the Church. That doesn’t mean that those who teach are more important BUT it does mean they carry greater responsibility ~ elders must “be able to teach” and that is a good thing to want to be. Teaching takes many forms and is in no way restricted to a monologue lecture type presentation. For those who tech in any form [pulpit / small groups / SS / one-to-one] there is a warning –

James 3:1             1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (NIV)

 

A pastor has the responsibility together with the leaders that God has provided to lead and teach the congregation– it is not a one-man show – it is a team effort!

 

Paul writes to the young Timothy with encouragement and instruction.

Paul’s life is coming to an end – he is in prison in Rome awaiting trial and almost certain execution. He has spent the past 30+ years of his life teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. He has a few things to say to young Timothy – young – timid – plagued with health problems.

In the first ½ of chapter 1 Paul has thanked God for Timothy’s godly upbringing and his dedicated, disciplined discipleship – AND he has outlined the wonder of the gospel of God’s grace revealed in Christ and now committed to men.

 

In v12 he reminded Timothy that the gospel will triumph to the end because God is able to guard “my deposit”. Not so much what we have entrusted to him [NIV] but what he has entrusted to us – The gospel is God’s work – Jesus said “I will build my church” and he gives us the privilege of working with him.

 

4 keywords…

  1. Preserve

2 Timothy 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, …..

 

Preserve WHAT?

Paul has just outline the gospel in verses 9-11 – salvation is a gift of God’s grace through Jesus Christ alone – this is the model/ standard – this is the authentic gospel and neither Paul nor Timothy nor you and I have the right to change it. The authentic gospel has never been popular because it humbles the sinner too much. The temptation when we face opposition is that we water it down to make it more palatable. NO says Paul “Preserve it or it will become unsound teaching”…

Now we need to ensure that what we are trying to preserve is the authentic gospel and not our own particular tradition / or particular bias or blind spot.

 

ILLUS.: When I was a student I worked in a church with a pastor who had studied in USA where in many churches what you believe about how and when Jesus will return divides congregation. He wanted to make his particular view a requirement for Church membership ~ I and others objected strongly. WHY? Because while the fact of Christ’s return is an essential part of the gospel the timetable of event leading up to and surrounding his return is not.

 

What we are called to preserve is the essential gospel passed down from the apostles. The WHAT!

 

Preserve HOW?

….with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

The gospel came to us, not in cold impersonal proposition, but in the person of Jesus Christ “full of grace and truth” and that too is the pattern that we are to preserve. So it is to be taught is relationship and modelled in our lives.

Remind you this applies not just to Pastors and leaders but to ALL God’s people. Teaching in faith and love is not saying what people necessarily want to hear ~ it is endeavouring to say what God’s word says! Love is not rubberstamping everyone opinions and views ~ love includes sometimes saying hard and unpopular things.

 

We must keep in tact the authentic teaching of Christ.

 

  1. Protect

Paul now urges Timothy to 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (NIV)

It is astonishing that God has entrusted human beings like you and me with the task of protecting the gospel of Christ.

Timothy was ministering in Ephesus, which was the capital of the Roman Province of Asia. It would appear that many who initially having accepted the gospel taught by Paul were now turning away, the ringleaders possibly Phygelus and Hermogenes.[v15] We do not know the reason for their turning away.

 

BUT there always are and always have been those who come into the church with their own agenda – they seek self-glory / they seek a following / they have their own agenda / they criticise and undermine the leaders for their own ends – in the process they usually distort the gospel. One of the key ways these people operate is to undermine the leaders of the church.

 

As leaders and as a congregation we are responsible protect the gospel – don’t allow dissenters / vainglory seekers / gossips to compromise the gospel. You will not agree with me or the other teachers in the church on everything – talk to person about it – don’t gossip to others about him/her. Guard the gospel from dissension from within.

 

And of course also from without. There always have been and always will be opponents of the gospel of Christ. The gospel is an offence to those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.

BUT we are called to guard it and keep it pure / free from corruption whatever the cost. – Esp. those called to lead and teach God’s people.

 

Thankfully we do not only encounter deserters and dissenters like Phygelus and Hermogenes BUT we also encounters those like Onesiphorous – {lit. bringer of profit} He was an encouager / one who gave his time and resources and even risked his life to minister to Paul. He is one of the unsung hero / a faithful friend.

We all need people like Onesiphorous who will stand by us / encourage us.

 

We live in a society that is preoccupied with self – everyone except their needs and their rights to be met – we are deluded if we think this thinking hasn’t infected the church – consumerism reaches even into the church.

So sometimes I hear the comment about church “Oh I didn’t get anything out of it / it didn’t do anything for me!” WELL what did you put into it??!!

 

14 … — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (NIV)

guarding the gospel in our own strength is impossible. God is able to guard the gospel until Christ’s return BUT our part is that we are to guard it also with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us

Which leads on to my next point – key word –

 

  1. Powerful

Paul charge to Timothy is that he should be strong – powerful.

 

If the prevailing mood is to compromise on the gospel to make it more acceptable / palatable Timothy will need to stand firm – so does every pastor/ church leader!

 

Paul says to Timothy “Never mind what other people may be thinking or saying or doing. Never mind how weak you yourself may feel. As for you, Timothy, be strong!”

Telling someone, esp. someone as timid as Timothy, to stand against the prevailing tide is like telling an elephant to fly. If this enterprise of the Church is simply a human project then we may as well go home … BUT IT IS NOT….

 

2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Do you pray for the leaders / teachers in this church that God will strengthen them daily by his grace ~ we need your prayers. We pray for you. Without the grace of Christ strengthening us we will fail!

 

  1. Pass on

Timothy has received the gospel with the charge to preserve and protect it AND much more ~ to pass it on!

God has set in motion a process that ensures that the Church progresses and grows the gospel will not fail and you know what is so amazing? God has committed the gospel to the church!! From generation to generation!

 

  • Christ ð Paul ~ The faith was entrusted to Paul and the other apostles by Christ. PAUL ~ Galatians 1:11-12    11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (NIV)

 

  • Paul ð Timothy ~ What was entrusted to Paul he now entrusts to Timothy “… the deposit entrusted to you.”

 

  • Timothy ð Faithful People ~ 2 Timothy 2:2 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men [people – anqhropos humankind NOT andros males] who will also be qualified to teach others. (NIV)

 

  • Faithful People ð Others ~ clearly there are those who are esp. gifted to teach – they first need to be taught / and keep on being taught / learning daily from God’s word – then are responsible to teach others! If you desire to teach others / to be a leader in the Church then you MUST be willing and humble enough to put in the time and effort to learn from God through his Word and from those God has entrusted with responsibility to pass on the gospel. {SEAN – motto “Tim. 2v2” – Tuesday Evening – Terry Barratt}

 

The Olympic touch illus. breaks down at this point – Like the gospel it is preserved/protected / passed on BUT in the Olympic Stadium a few strain and sweat and the rest are spectators. Christians not called to be spectators – to watch the professionals!! God does not call us to be passive!

The temptation is to think that now after all these years without a Pastor you can relax and let him do the work! After all isn’t that what he is paid for!!!

 

Binscombe doesn’t have one minister – it has 80-100 of ministers.

 

Ephesians 4:11-12 11 Christ … gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service {MINISTRY}, so that the body of Christ may be built up (NIV)

 

It is not my role or that of the other leaders to rush around like headless chickens while the rest look on. Every Christian is a minister – Are you exercising the ministry God has given you! Ministry means serving. Being a servant is not a popular concept – we like others to serve us. To meet our needs and wants!

Mark 10:45 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NIV)

Am I more important than Jesus?

 

ILLUS.: WHICH BODY is responsible to serve?

Mr. Somebody, Mrs. Everybody, Miss. Anybody and Nobody were 4 church members and still are. Mrs. Everybody seemed to have an excuse when absent. Miss. Anybody wouldn’t go to church because Mr. Somebody would speak to her. So Nobody went. In fact Nobody was the only church member worth having.

Nobody went to the prayer meeting. Nobody joined in evangelism. Nobody was at services. Nobody did his best to help. Once a Sunday School teacher was needed. Mrs. Everybody thought Miss. Anybody could do it and Mr. Somebody thought Mrs. Everybody would want to do it – so Nobody did it! When a new neighbour moved in Mrs. Everybody thought that Mr. Somebody should befriend him. Miss. Anybody could at least make the effort. So who witnessed to him for Christ? Nobody!

 

Are you prepared to be a Nobody for the cause of Christ?

The Church is a team and we are all players – and if we behave as spectators we have missed the point of what it means to be a Christian.

 

The church team does not exist for itself – if we turn in and are self-absorbed we have lost the plot!

Why does the Church exist? To glorify God? YES! BUT how practically?

  • Is worshipping together important? YES!
  • Is fellowship important? YES!
  • Is increasing our understanding of God’s Word important? YES!

ALL these we will do better in heaven – so why are we here on earth?

To bear witness to the world that Jesus Christ is Lord – missions and evangelism.

As Christians we have been entrusted with the most precious and valuable thing in the universe ~ the gospel of Christ. BUT we do not protect it and preserve it by locking it up in a museum and rolling it out now and then to look at it. The gospel is preserved and protected as it is passed on and given away through the grace of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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